[Ad – This post features gifted items from Mylands and Arket]
Isn’t a cloudy bank holiday the perfect opportunity to finish those odd jobs and get some DIY done? If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you might have seen that I’ve been busy transforming my bedroom with a fresh lick of paint. No, it’s not grey. Perhaps surprisingly for someone like me who likes all things simple, pared-back and neutral, I’m embracing colour. Well, just one wall of colour, I’ve not gone completely crazy. This is my simple, forest green bedroom makeover – showing that a bold splash of hue can be minimal and refined.
I’ve saved the behind the scenes process to Highlights on Instagram Stories, but I thought a blog post would be the best way to tell you why I’ve suddenly gone mad for green and give you a little context. I’ll share the full reveal in a few weeks once the finishing touches have been put in place.
So, green. I touched on my love for this tranquil, uplifting colour in a recent blog post (see it here). Bringing to mind bucolic landscapes, lush fields, rich forests and a sense of escapism, green embodies feelings of balance, harmony and tranquility to a space. It symbolises fresh beginnings, good health and growth – ideal for a bedroom you might say. Of all the rooms in a home, the bedroom is the space where you most want to retreat to at the end of the day – to reconnect with one’s self and one’s surroundings. For me a bedroom should be a calm, quiet sanctuary thoughtfully designed around our wellbeing.
But let’s go back to the beginning and remind ourselves of what the bedroom looked like before. You might remember that the bedroom used to be a soft blush pink – Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir to be exact (see the before and after here). It was lovely for a time (a hell of a lot better than that bright blue feature wall it has to be said…). Inspired by delicate chiffon gowns, Peignoir is a calming, soft and serene colour. I loved the grey tones and how it wasn’t too overly pink like a millennial pink.
But on some occasions, often when the light dimmed or under artificial light, the pink took on a mauve tinge that I didn’t like. Before long, the room just didn’t feel very ‘me’. I fell out of love with pink and felt a disconnect with the space. It started to have an impact on my mood when I was in the room and whenever I tried to relax, there was always a nagging thought saying, ‘I can’t relax, I just really want to paint these walls again’!
I remember when I decorated this room I wanted to do something different to all the other rooms in the house, to almost prove that I could do something other than light grey. I think I was also fatigued from doing up the other spaces – I was just going through the motions of decorating, rather than really considering what I wanted from the space. But when we design according to trends that come and quickly pass us by, we can often end up creating spaces that fail to connect with us on a deeper level, beyond how something looks to the eye. It feels a bit like an empty promise – it looks seductive on Instagram or Pinterest, but in a real home, a few months on, the cracks appear and you realise you never really liked pink anyway!
As well as not connecting with me, the room wasn’t connecting with the rest of the house. There was no common thread running through the different spaces. It’s great to give each room its own unique identity, mood or feeling, but you want them together to add up to more than the sum of their parts. So there’s a cohesive, thoughtful flow from one space to another.
But that’s all OK – a home should be able to adapt to our lifestyles and grow with us. We can make mistakes or decorating disasters, and in the process we’ll learn more about both ourselves and the spaces we inhabit. There was nothing really wrong with the pink, it just wasn’t right for me. Put simply, it no longer aligned with my values and personal style, centred around simplicity, sustainability and nurturing my wellbeing.
I’ve talked before about finding my personal style and allowing it to evolve. I think it’s only through living in a space that you learn how to create a home that’s a true reflection of you. It can be a slow process. Take my living room for example, I’m now really happy with how it’s looking some two to three years after moving in. At first it was very pale and minimal, but I’ve been gently adding lots of cosy, natural textures and pops of dark green and burnt ochre over time as it’s felt right. The walls act as a neutral backdrop while everything else in the space gives soul and character. It can adapt with the seasons or how I’m feeling on any given day. And it was through this process that I developed an interest in bringing the outside in and designing according to the senses.
When I’m designing a space, I take great inspiration from my surroundings. My interiors are very understated and muted in tone, which I see reflected in the grey colour palette of London – the terraced houses, the roofscapes, the urban texture of the city. In my previous home I had accents of burnt orange, it was only after a while that I really realised that the building opposite was the exact same colour – I’d unconsciously brought it inside without actually making the connection.
And I think because I’m prone to anxiety, I’m more aware of how my environment makes me feel. Some people take to exercise, some to therapy, but curating a home that soothes and calms me is my way of feeling safe and secure in life. Green it turns out is a real mood booster for me. In my everyday life, I find great peace in my daily dog walks to the local park and seeing the seasons change. Green reminds me of restorative walks in the forest as a child. While winter can have me feeling a bit down, spring, with all its fresh greenery and bursts of life, really uplifts my mood. I’ve become fascinated with biophilic design and the healing power nature can have. So it makes sense that I might want to bring that moment of tranquility back home with me.
While Instagram is making interiors increasingly more homogenised (you can end up seeing the same thing over and over again) and our urban environments are becoming more alienating and less human, going back to basics and taking inspiration from nature, with all its subtle imperfections, can help our homes resonate with us on a more nuanced level.
Here’s a mood board to illustrate what I’m thinking.
Green cushion, from 39 euros, By Mölle
Green linen bedding, 139 euros for a duvet cover, By Mölle
Plant box by Ferm Living, £179, Amara
Bollard pendant lamp by Menu, £89.95, Clippings
Brompton Road by Mylands
Ammonite by Farrow & Ball
Plant pot, £25, Arket
Vase by Ferm Living, £22, Trouva
Snofrid cushion, £10, IKEA
Artwork, Liza Giles
Washed green linen bedding set, H&M Home
Grove waffle throw, £49, Made
On the majority of the walls I’ve gone for Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite, an understated light grey that has the perfect balance of cool and warm tones. I didn’t want the green to be too overpowering so opted for one wall of Brompton Road by London-based paint company Mylands [gift].
Discovered in their archives, this shade of green was used in a house on this famous Chelsea street. I wanted something quite punchy and sharp, not wishy washy or pastel shaded. After testing lots of different samples, Brompton Road offered the perfect forest green – rich, lush and sophisticated.
While the pale pink space was soft and feminine, I want this forest green bedroom to be more grown-up. I’ve added sage green and dark grey accents and can’t wait to install a wall of natural linen curtains to add a sense of cosiness. There’s a few other details to be finalised, from changing the headboard of the bed to choosing a ceiling pendant, but I can’t wait to reveal the finished room soon. It can sometimes take me a while to do these things and get round to doing jobs, but I think there’s no harm in taking things slowly, I think it makes the final result all the more rewarding.